Wednesday

29th Mar 2017

France's Macron issues Brexit warning

  • Macron met with British PM Theresa May to polish his international stature. (Photo: Reuters)

French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron tried to polish his international stature on Tuesday (21 February) with a surprise visit to London where he met the British prime minister and finance minister.

Speaking in front of 10 Downing Street after meeting PM Theresa May, he warned against "undue advantages" for the UK after Brexit and said "an exit is an exit".

"Brexit cannot lead to a kind of optimisation of Britain's relationship with the rest of Europe," he said.

 He added that he encouraged British "talented people" to come to work to France.

“I want banks, talents, researchers, academics and so on," he said, insisting that "France and the European Union are a very attractive space now".

At a meeting for the London French community also attended Nick Clegg, a former Liberal-Democrat leader and deputy PM, Macron urged his countrymen to come back to France to do business. 



Macron, a 39-year old former banker and finance minister, is one of the main contenders for the French presidential election in April, with far-right leader Marine Le Pen and conservative Francois Fillon.

A leader of his own political movement, En Marche [Marching forward], which he launched less than a year ago, Macron is campaigning as a liberal centrist who will renew the political system.

"I claim inexperience and political immaturity," he told his supporters in London, adding that in France, "political experience is political inefficiency [and] favours for friends".

Macron is also one the few candidates expressing positive views about the EU.

"We need Europe," he said in London, adding that France could "not triumph without Europe". He said Europe needed Britain to be involved in a common security policy with the EU even after Brexit.

But Macron, who will unveil his presidential platform next week, is considered by many as thin on ideas and proposals.

They say that he is benefiting only from the collapse of the left, with led the current president Francois Hollande to renounce running again, and from the weakness of the right, with Fillon embroiled in an embezzlement scandal involving his wife and children.

Macron's visit to London, designed as an operation to show that he can be influential abroad, came as the latest poll showed that he was losing ground to Le Pen and Fillon, losing five points to 17-18.5 percent of voting intention.

According to the poll published for L'Express magazine and BFM TV, Le Pen is ahead in voting intention in the first round, with 27-28 percent, and Fillon second at 20-21 percent.

Narrowing gap

In the run-off, Le Pen would be beaten by both Fillon - with 56 percent against 44 - and Macron - 59-41. But the gap between the far-right leader and her contenders is narrowing in polls, despite a police investigation into alleged fake job contracts she signed in the European Parliament.

Many people are also still undecided. According to the poll, 24 percent of respondents refused to say what they would vote in case of a run-off between Le Pen and Macron; 32 percent in case of a Le Pen-Fillon vote.

Another problem for Macron could arise on Wednesday, if centrist politician Francois Bayrou, who summoned the press in the afternoon, announced a presidential bid. Both men would compete for centre-left and centre-right votes.

While Macron was is London, Le Pen was in Lebanon for a two-day visit, also in an operation to demonstrate her international clout.



She met president Michel Aoun and prime minister Saad Hariri but refused to meet the grand mufti because she was asked to wear a veil.

“I have explained to president Aoun the true meaning of my political struggle,” she said. “It is a struggle for freedom and sovereignty which I believe is something that resonates particularly in Lebanon."

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

Macron meets Merkel, says France must reform

The independent liberal candidate to the presidential election said in Berlin that France must reform itself if it wants to remain close to Germany and play a role in Europe.

News in Brief

  1. UK delivered its Article 50 letter to the EU
  2. Support for Germany's anti-EU party fading
  3. Turkish intelligence not welcome in Germany
  4. US senate approves Montenegro’s Nato bid
  5. Scottish MPs give go ahead to seek referendum
  6. Uber pulls out of Denmark over new taxi-regulation
  7. EU court validates sanctions on Russia's Rosneft
  8. Luxembourg to team up with Ireland in Apple tax appeal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The Idealist QuarterlyCan Progressive Stories Survive Our Post-Truth Era? After-Work Discussion on 6 April
  2. ACCAG20 Citizens Want 'Big Picture' Tax Policymaking, According to Global Survey
  3. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  4. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  5. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  6. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  8. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  9. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  10. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  12. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans